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Joe's Fishing Hole: Packing away the boat for winter

Courtesy of Elko Daily Free Press
  • If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to winterize your boat to insure that it will start in the spring and to prevent damage to your engine that may run into thousands of dollars worth of repairs.

    Many boats come with owner’s manuals that tell you how to prepare your boat for the winter. If you have it, follow the directions that your manufacturer recommends. If you don’t have the owner’s manual here are a few tips to help you out.

    Use water ears, a flushing attachment to flush the water out your outboard motor cooling system. While you have the engine running, disconnect the fuel line, letting the engine continue to run, removing all of this year’s fuel from the system.

    There are two schools of thought about fuel over the winter. You may either completely empty the tank, using a fogging oil to protect it from corrosion, or you may put brand new fuel with stabilizer in it. Both ways seem to work fine.

    If you use fogging oil, spray it in the carburetor right before the motor runs out of gas, you will know it’s running out of gas when the motor starts to run rough. Remove the spark plugs and spray into the cylinders. Then spray the inside of your gas tank. This is a good time to put in new spark plugs.

    After the motor is shut down, remove flushing attachment and drain your motor of all water, making sure the outboard motor is in an upright position. Many even have a drain plug to help you drain the water. You may turn the prop by hand or even bump the motor with the starter (disconnect spark plug wire) to force water out of the pump. Don’t leave any water inside as freezing temperatures can crack the housing.

    Clean and lubricate all the linkages found on the motor and the steering components, using the manufacturer’s recommended lubricants. Don’t forget to lubricate the propeller shaft. Always store your outboard motor in an upright position.

    Finally, wash and dry the outside of your boat and trailer removing all dirt, plant and animal matter. Clean, drain and dry your bilges. Either store your boat in a covered place or put a good sturdy boat cover or tarp over it. This is also a great time to check the brakes and lighting system on your trailer, repack the bearings on the axles and make sure that the winching system is lubricated and in good working condition.

    Follow these steps and when it’s time to hit the water next spring, your boat will be ready to go.


    Very little change here with good water quality, levels and fishing. Surface water temperatures were in the low to mid 40s earlier this week. Fishing has been good with shore anglers reporting limits of chunky trout in the Hendrick’s Arm on both sides of the highway, all the way to the canyon that leads to the dam and at the state park. Fish are averaging 14 to 18 inches with the occasional fish between 20 and 24 inches. Penrod arm is also fishing well.


    Earlier this week surface water temperatures ranged from the low to high 40s, depending upon where on the lake you are and time of day. However, with the rain, snow and wind expect the temperatures to have dropped into the low 40s by this weekend. The wind should have broken up most of the remaining weed beds and the cold temperatures will help clear up much of the remaining algae. Expect numbers to pick up with the clearing water and colder water temperatures. Anglers report catching some fish on the southeast side of the lake in eight to 10 feet of water from float tubes using olive or peacock bead head crystal buggers. The trout being caught are averaging between 14 and 18 inches with an occasional 20 incher.


    Fishing from shore continues to improve and anglers are catching 12 to 14 inch fish with a few 19 to 20 inch fish thrown in for good measure.


    The water is clear with the lake about 50 percent of capacity and trout are moving into shallower water near the boat ramp or along the north shore near the cabin.


    With the front that moved through on Thursday and Friday consider bass fishing done for the year. Fishing in the ditch for trout has been good for trout, though most of the ditch has low clear water with weeds.


    The wind should have helped clear out the remaining weeds the week making shore fishing much more accessible. Trout fishing has been good while bass fishing is pretty much done for the year. Worms and PowerBait are popular here for trout as are black or olive woolly buggers, prince nymphs, PT’s, leech patterns, scuds and hares ears.


    Anglers should do well on night crawlers, Mepps, Panther Martins and Kast Masters for trout. Consider bass fishing done here for the year. Trout fishing has been good using common nymph and emerger patterns as well as buggers.


    Anglers are catching summer carryover trout and fall stocked trout. Most fish being caught are 10 inches to 12 inches with the occasional 14+ inch rainbow. Water temperatures were in the mid to high 40s and will probably drop into the low 40s with the recent weather.


    Fishing has been good, but with the cooler weather expect it to be icing up any day now. As of Friday morning (Nov. 17) the road was still listed as open. Dress in layers here as the lake is at 8,400 feet of elevation with cold mornings and warm afternoons.


    With Friday’s weather, expect most lakes to be difficult to get to due to snow and most lakes are icing over. Travel is not recommended and there will be no further fishing reports on the high mountain lakes until next spring or early summer depending upon the winter.


    Most area streams are well above normal for flows for this time of year due to the precipitation we received this week. Expect turbid water this weekend. Lamoille Creek is flowing at 12 cfs, Bruneau River at 66 cfs, Jarbidge at 20 cfs and the east fork of the Owyhee near Mountain City is flowing at approximately 51 cfs. East central Nevada streams have little change: Cleve Creek is flowing at 6 cfs and Steptoe at 4 cfs.

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